The “warehousing” of assylum seekers in 55 converted buildings including industrial units is a huge money spinner of just under €10 million a month for the landlords involved who don’t have to engage in a public tendering process

On Friday morning independent deputy, Marc MacSharry went on ‘The Pat Kenny Show’ on Virgin Media to voice his concerns about the proposal to convert the use of purpose-built apartments for 400 students on the campus of Atlantic Technological University, Sligo to house asylum seekers and refugees.

Emergency legislation passed by the Dáil last November means that planning permission is no longer required for the conversion of a building to accommodate migrants and asylum seekers.

MacSharry said housing refugees in student accommodation “displaces” Irish people and is “totally counterproductive and wrong…This accommodation is for students, and it must be for students.”

He claimed that the high level of social welfare payments available in Ireland is drawing Ukrainians to the country.

“Ireland is obviously providing a minimum of €230 per week. The next highest is €107 in Finland. In Denmark, it’s between €60 and €80 and in the Netherlands, it’s €54,” he said.

“If I have to flee a war-torn Ukraine, there’s only one location I’m heading for – and that’s where I’m getting the best deal.

“In Ireland, we’re providing the finances, the accommodation in some instances means medical cards, and free post home – that’s not been replicated in any other country.”

He went on to say: ““I am not a racist, I’m not a zealot, I’m not a xenophobe.

“Because we live in a very woke world, no doubt there’ll be texts into your show saying, ‘Oh my god, what a right-winger’. I’m no more right-wing than the man on the moon.

“We cannot be foolish and reckless about our capacity, and that’s the issue.”

In recent months Stephen Kerr has been labelled a racist. He is a native of Breaffy a small village 4 km SE of Castlebar whose population doubled in 2022 with the arrival of 700 asylum seekers and refugees to Breaffy House Resort. Kerr has organised a number of public meetings where locals voiced their concerns and he’s been doorstepping the local county councillors to elicit a response from them about what’s happening.

Of particular concern to him is the huge issue of overcrowding, the apparent lack of fire certification and the housing of children in close proximity to unvetted unaccompanied males.

The owners of Breaffy House Resort are currently converting a unit in an industrial estate in nearby Castlebar to accommodate more asylum seekers.

Stephen Kerr, The Irish Inquiryposted videos to social media this week relating to an Algerian family being removed from Breaffy House and relocated to Monaghan after the man involved alleged that asylum seekers were offered the possibility of having their application for asylum speeded up in return for providing unpaid security services.

This is a very serious allegation that has now gone viral on social media which must be investigated by the Gardai and the PSA.

Breaffy House Resort is referenced indirectly today in a Sunday Times report by John Mooney and Beau Donelly that examines payments for 55 units around the country costing just under €10 million a month to house asylum seekers.

Data released by Roderic O’Gorman’s department shows that 55 properties in 16 counties were contracted to house asylum seekers between September last year and February. The monthly bill for the new International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) centres is €9.6 million a month.

The documents, obtained by The Sunday Times, show the biggest spend on new IPAS accommodation centres during this period is more than €1.3 million a month at the former ESB office block on East Wall Road in Dublin which has capacity for 400 people. This building was the scene for protests earlier this year.

The Ibis hotel at the Red Cow junction in Dublin, which has capacity for 339 people is getting €753,925 a month.

222 male asylum seekers — mostly from Georgia, Algeria, Somalia and Sierra Leone who are mostly working locally are housed in a unit in the Cookstown industrial estate in Tallaght, Dublin.

The owner is getting €497,280 a month which is a multiple of what the owners of adjacent units are getting for renting to the likes of tyre depot operators.

The public accounts committee (PAC) is currently examining the awarding of contracts and leases to landlords and companies that has resulted in the total spend by IPAS asylum seeker accommodation increasing from €78 million in 2018 to over €356 million in 2022, which equates to about €18,000 per person.